DeAndre Jordan recorded a career-high 24 rebounds.
DeAndre Jordan recorded a career-high 24 rebounds as the Clippers defeat the Timberwolves, 114-104.

MINNEAPOLIS – Undermanned and undersized in the front court Monday, the Clippers needed someone to come up big on the boards.

DeAndre Jordan, the league’s leading rebounder, answered the call, pulling down a career-high 24 rebounds and leading the Clippers to a 114-104 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

“He was amazing,” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said of Jordan. “He was getting rebounds all over the place. He’s been amazing for us. Think about it, our key tonight was if we could rebound we could run. So, D.J. said, ‘Ok, then I’ll do all of the rebounding.’ That’s just amazing.”

Jordan grabbed half of his rebounds in the first quarter, coming one shy of tying Lorenzen Wright and Michael Cage for the franchise record. By game’s end, Jordan had registered his fourth 20-rebound game of the season and became just the sixth Clippers player to have 24 or more rebounds in a game since 1985-86.

“I told him that if hadn’t bobbled the nine other ones he had he would have had 30 rebounds tonight,” Rivers said. “I mean, really, he bobbled at least nine.”

Despite missing out on what could have perhaps been an even bigger rebounding night, Jordan, playing without his friend and All-Star running mate Blake Griffin for the first time this season, was the anchor.

Or as Chris Paul might say: “the constant.”

“His energy is amazing,” Paul said. “He’s so durable. He plays every single night. Tonight, it was pretty much just him in there rebounding and he managed to do it.”

Jordan had 10 offensive rebounds. He helped the Clippers own a 49-42 edge on the glass over a Minnesota team ranked eighth in rebounds per game. He tipped balls to keep them alive. He outleapt Gorgui Dieng. He out positioned Kevin Love, who is second to Jordan for the league lead in rebounds. And he outmuscled everyone, even some of his teammates.

 “There’s no rebounding when D.J.’s around,” Darren Collison said. “You can forget about that. Any time D.J.’s on the court. He’s going to get all of the rebounds.”

It’s probably no coincidence that Jordan’s two highest rebounding games have come with Griffin out. He had 22 in Washington last season when Griffin sat out with a hip injury and surpassed his previous career high Monday while Griffin, who is averaging 9.7 rebounds per game, was sidelined with lower back spasms.

This season Jordan has played in all 75 games, extending his consecutive games played streak to 233. Throughout the Clippers injury-riddled season, he was been the common thread.

“That big guy right there, he deserves Defensive Player of the Year, a rebounding [title], all the stuff,” Paul said. “He deserves it.”

And Monday may have been the best proof yet as to why.